In the summer of 2015, changes to mobile and landline bills will affect everyone in the UK. Ofcom has enforced new guidelines for calls using smartphones and regular home telephones and the consumer stands to benefit.
However, the changes themselves might be a little confusing, so Ofcom, along with the UK's largest telephone service providers, including BT, Virgin Media, EE, O2, Sky, Talk Talk, Three and Vodaphone, are fronting a campaign called UK Calling, that aims to illustrate those changes in a simple and easy to understand manner.
In addition, from January 2015, the information will be provided to all customers of landline and mobile services through multiple channels, including bills, text messages, magazines and social media.
But what exactly are those changes? You can find out more at the dedicated UK Calling website, plus Pocket-lint has put them below so you know what to expect come next year.
Clearer call rates
One of the main targets for the Ofcom guidelines is the charging system for premium phone numbers.
Exact pricing per operator for numbers that start 084, 087, 09 or 118 has been confusing in the past. Consumers, it was found, are often kept in the dark about how much they will have to pay to ring any of those services, which can often include customer helplines.
Under the new rules, payments for calls to any of those numbers will be split on bills as an "access charge" - the amount going to the phone company - and "service charge" - the amount being paid to the organisation called. All phone companies must make its own charges clear to consumers on bills and when they sign up to a new contract.
In addition, the companies being called must clearly convey their own charge wherever the number is listed.
At present, wherever a premium rate number is listed - such as on a TV show phone in - it is obliged to say: "Calls cost xxxp per minute from a BT landline. Calls may vary from other landlines and calls from mobiles may cost considerably more."
From summer 2015, the wording will have to change to: "Calls cost xxxp per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge."
Freephone numbers will be free for mobiles too
All numbers starting 0800 or 0808 will not only be free to call from landlines, as now, but will also be totally free to call from mobile devices too.
Currently, calls to freephone numbers from a smartphone cost from 14p to 40p depending on the network.